Kelly Slater on Wayne Deane’s Approach And Its Effect On His Prodigal Son
Apples And Trees And That Iconic Gold Coast Steeze
“Wayne seemed like a guy who was open to modern surfing, but he was also from the classic era.”
[Ed.’s Note: This year, the surf world lost one of Australia’s true icons, Wayne Deane. The generation-spanning regular foot cut his teeth on Queensland’s hollow, powerful right points. His surfing was steeped in the Hot Generation style, pushed by the Busting Down the Door crew, but always kept pace with the youngsters coming up the Superbank—like one particular 15-year-old phenom named Kelly Slater.
We’ll let Kelly take it from here, one World Champion’s take on another.]
Wayne was always friendly with me, and I always respected his surfing, but I would say, looking back, unfortunately, I wasn’t very close with Wayne. I saw him in the water a lot at Kirra and obviously a lot at the Superbank.
I went over there when I was 15 and then again when I was 18. When I was 15, I remember seeing Wayne and a number of other guys surf at Kirra. That was July of ’87. It was Sean Riley and that whole crew, Jason Buttenshaw, the whole Snapper Crew. Mid-’80s guys and some of the guys of the ’70s still around.
At the time, I was pretty enamored with the Gold Coast as a whole. Kirra, I always rated it as my favorite wave as a kid and always wanted to surf it.
I loved the style of surfing you saw come out of there. Obviously, Rabbit and guys like Joe Engel and MP and all their board influences. There’s a lot of surfboard design influence from all the different shapers in that area.
It’s a classic wave and it’s a classic style of surfing that happens there and the boards match that. I think Wayne represented that as a whole.
Wayne seemed like a guy who was open to modern surfing, but he was also from the classic era. I think that probably shines through with Noa and the way he surfs.
As is evident here, Noa can punt.
[Noa’s] so stylish, but still all about being in the air and pushing big maneuvers and that kind of stuff. If you just saw him cruising down a wave you wouldn’t think of him as a big air guy. He’s not overly excitable when he rides a wave. He’s pretty mellow, and obviously some of that of his dad’s style and influence coming through.
I’ll just throw it out there, because it happened a few times, but I had Wayne drop in on me a number of times [laughs]—at Snapper, Greenmount, and Kirra. And I always felt like that’s what should happen. I never ever felt entitled at all, that it was my wave. He’s from here. He grew up here. If he didn’t want me to ride behind him, I’d kick out. But a couple of times, he’s like, “Yeah, let’s go together.” If it didn’t seem that way, I would just kick out and not think twice about it.
I think as a younger guy, that’s what you do for the guys who paved the way.
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